Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Travel Blog

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Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle is dramatically situated on a small isle at the meeting point of three sea lochs - Loch Long, Loch Duich and Loch Alsh. The original castle was built in 1220 for Alexander II as a defence against the Vikings. By the late 13th century it had become a stronghold of the Mackenzies of Kintail (later the Earls of Seaforth). In 1511, the MacRaes, as protectors of the MacKenzies, became the hereditary Constables of the Castle.

In 1719, the castle was garrisoned by Spanish troops fighting for the Jacobite cause on behalf of the 5th Earl of Seaforth when three British frigates sailed into the loch and pounded the castle to rubble with canon-fire. It remained a ruin for the next two centuries until 1912 when Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap decided to restore his ancestral home.

Eilean Donan - remember the scene from the first Highlander movie?
The restoration took 20 years and included the construction of an arched bridge to give easier access to the castle. In 1983 The Conchra Charitable Trust was formed by the MacRae family to care for the Castle.

  • By the A87 on the north shore of Loch Duich near Dornie
  • Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, by Kyle of Lochalsh IV40 8DX
  • Maintained by the Conchra Charitable Trust
  • Open to the public
  • Contact: 01599 555202
  • For further information visit www.eileandonancastle.com

A bit more information:

Above the entrance to the castle there is a Gaelic inscription which translates as: As long as there is a MacRae inside, there will never be a Fraser outside. Inside the courtyard is the famous Murchison Stone with an inscription about John Murchison of Auchtertyre who was killed in the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715.

"As long as there is a MacRae inside, there will never be a Fraser outside"
In the upper floor inside the castle there are six bedrooms named Loch Alsh, Loch Long, Eilean Donan, Ballimore, Loch Duich and Conchra. There is also a panel with the names of the constables (guardians) of the castle carved on it.

Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 1220 and owned by the MacKenzies of Kintail. The MacRae Clan who settled in the area came from the Beauly Firth where they had protected the Clan Fraser. They acted as bodyguards to the MacKenzie chiefs. Although there was a number of disputes, the MacKenzies held Eilean Donan right up until until the 16th century. The MacRaes first became Constables of the Castle in 1511 with a lot of control over the surrounding area. A feud between the MacKenzies and the McLeods of Dunvegan, over the disputed claims of Donald Gorm MacDonald to the title of Lord of the Isles, came to a head when he attacked the Castle with 50 galleys. He was shot and killed by Duncan MacRae with a single arrow. The Castle was garrisoned by Government troops but later retaken by the Jacobites before the Battle of Sheriffmuir.

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Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan - remember the scene …
Eilean Donan - remember the scene…
As long as there is a MacRae insi…
"As long as there is a MacRae ins…
Bridge to Eilean Donan, Loch Duich
Bridge to Eilean Donan, Loch Duich
View over Loch Duich from Eilean D…
View over Loch Duich from Eilean …
Eilean Donan
photo by: highlandmist